A life in abundance at the cost of evermore agricultural land outside Europe

As fertile land areas to produce agricultural and forestry products are only available in a limited amount on our planet it is very important to use this resource thoughtfully. A number of conflicts are coupled with the global land use. In developing countries conflicts arise on the issue whether arable land should be used for the production of exports or for domestic consumption.

In a recently finished research in co-operation with Friends of the Earth, SERI analysed the land footprint of 112 countries and regions, i.e. the land used to produce the agricultural and forestry products consumed by a country.

Let’s have a look at the European footprint:

  • EU average land consumption per capita is 1.3 hectares, while countries such as China and India use less than 0.4 hectares per capita.
  • Europe is the continent most dependent on imported land: Nearly 60% of the land used to satisfy the demand on agricultural and forestry products comes from outside the continent.
  • Six of the top 10 land importing countries/regions are European – Germany, UK, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Spain. Germany and the UK each import more than 80 million hectares a year.

You can download the report here and a short summary of the key findings here .

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